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  • Stuck in the sand on Lone Rock Beach.

    Half a mile from our destination, spinning the front wheels of the Camry. Kicking up sprays of sand while below us, on the beach edge, campers soundly slept wrapped in their bags. Open to the Utah morning for most chose to rest outside their tents, trucks or vans. Breathing the cool, crisp six a.m. air fresh off the lake, I could see why.

    Here we were, on a campground by the shores of Lake Powell, trying to reach a little spur of sand that had been the filming site for a Doctor Who episode, "The Impossible Astronaut". We weren't quite sure where it was, and that's why the car had been driven down a progressively less firm track until I realized it was likely to founder, turned it around, and promptly did indeed sink into the soft beach.

    I inwardly cursed. Time was passing, I wanted to be on that spur as the sun came up to get the best light for my photographs. There was no one awake to help, so it was up to David and me.

    How to get out? In the trunk of the car were tarpaulins and deflated airbeds for own camping needs. They would have to do. I opened them out into long rectangles and wedged them under the front tires. I sent David to the back of the car to push, and began to drive my way out of the morass.

    Tires whizzed and more sand flew. Finally, the airbed caught under the tire. A foul smell of burning rubber but a jerk forward. A little traction. Then it stopped and the car rolled backwards a little.

    I got out to inspect the scene. The airbed was shredding beneath the wheel, but it would work. A tarpaulin by the other wheel had not yet caught. I would need both under the car to drive free. So I wedged the tarp as best I could and went back to the driver's seat.

    More spinning wheels and scattering sand. As before, the car jumped as it gained traction but this time the forward motion held. Out of the sand it came, onto a more compacted region and here it moved as it should. I drove further onto firm ground before stopping and returning to collect the airbed and tarpaulin. Both ripped apart, but they'd done what was needed.

    As I packed the wrecked camping equipment into the trunk, an ATV drove up. "Did we need help?" Not now we didn't, but I was most grateful for the offer. I wondered how many others I'd disturbed out their morning slumbers. I hoped it wasn't too many.

    So it seemed as David and I walked down the trail to the beach. We came over a rise, and there it was, that little spit of beach. Just as it was in the TV episode, but now with a boat moored to the side and no film crew. The sun was higher than I'd hoped for, but it was good enough. We'd made to yet another Doctor Who location and the sand felt sweet beneath my shoes.

    I walked out the edge and gazed upon the lake. "Lake Silencio" they called it in the show, and silent it was now. I looked towards the spot where a person in an Apollo mission space suit had stood shin deep in the water, and, naturally, there was nothing to see except the gently rippling lake water. But my imagination filled in the figure and with that came a delicious feeling of satisfaction. Another location visited, down to the place where the very footsteps of the actors had left a mark in the sand. Those would be long gone by now, but that didn't seem to matter. A simple quest fulfilled, illuminated by a beautiful Utah dawn.

    A very good start to a very good day.

    We walked back to the car to find it surrounded a small group of retirees in camping chairs. From New York, they had moved to a house by the lake to witness daily the beauty I myself saw that morning. "Each day is different", said a woman. Looking over the water at the shadows forming on the rocks, I believed it. It was hard to drive away to our motel in Page, Arizona, even though I was ready for a good breakfast.

    One day, I'll go back.
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